Friday, March 31, 2006

Medications (Better Living Through Chemistry?)

At one point in the past year, I was taking a fistful of pills in the morning that was so big, I called it "breakfast."

It started off with Prozac. I knew I was suffering from classic symptoms of depression -- sleeplessness, listlessness, no interest or passion for anything I used to love. And the rage. God, the rage was horrible. I understand now why women were institutionalized back in the old days when they "went through the change." Prozac should be a primary consideration for any woman going through menopause. 20 mg./day of Prozac changed my life.



Along with the Prozac, I was prescribed HCTZ for my borderline high blood pressure. I was sure that the blood pressure stemmed from a combination of the menopausal rage/hormones as well as the progesterin the gynecologist put me on. I suppose that a small dose of blood pressure meds could/should be expected at the half-century mark. Particularly frustrating for me was the fact that, every time I went into the doctor's office for a follow-up, my BP was up, when it hadn't been at home. I can't say one way or the other what benefit I got, if any, from this medication. 20 mg./day of HCTZ kept my blood pressure in check, I guess.







Progesterin. Similar to a birth control pill, it's supposed to regulate the period, and "calm down" some of the raging side-effects of menopause. While it did, in fact, regulate the periods, they didn't calm down a bit, it elevated my blood pressure and, in the end, it became ineffective with regard to the regularity (or lack thereof) of my period. 20 mg./day for 14 days, then 14 days off the stuff regulated my periods -- I knew once again when to expect it.



Neurontin -- another life changing drug. A doctor prescribed this for me for the Restless Leg Syndrom/Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. He went with Neurontin (Gabapentin) because recent studies had shown it to be effective not only in treating RLS/PLMD but night sweats and hot flashes in menopausal women as well. He had me on 900 mg./day (300 mg. 3 times per day) but I kept forgetting the mid-day dose, and felt no ill effects from it. On my follow-up, I told the doctor that I'd like to reduce it to its lowest effective dose. He suggested that I take only 300 mg./day at bedtime but to adjust it as I saw fit. I take 100 mg. in the morning and 200 mg. before bed. I sleep well, my legs don't jump around, and I don't keep Lisa awake any more.

Along with all that crap, I was (am still) taking a multi-vitamin, and a Vitamin C tablet. I was swallowing 8 pills each morning, 3 in the afternoon, and 3 at night.

So, I decided to go off the progesterin because, while I was on it, I started a period -- not supposed to happen. After a sonohystiogram earlier this week revealed no endometrial polyps or other issues, I decided to just stay off the crap. I'll deal with the periods one month at a time, thank you very much. That said, I'm off the HCTZ now as well. My BP is back to normal and I feel fine. This morning, I discussed going off the Prozac with my doctor. I have her blessing, with the instructions to wait until my life's stressors have calmed down a bit. I figure to go off it after this semester ends in late May. That will leave me on the Neurontin.

I hate taking meds of any kind and typically will only take them for however long is absolutely necessary. I'd love to go off the Neurontin but the reality is that, unless I get off my ass and get exercising every single day, I'll need to stay on it. Exercising seemed to help a lot with the RLS/PLMD in the past.

So, tomorrow I will start, yet again, another "new" exercise regimen. I'm going back to Curves, getting my bicycle tuned up, got my new walking shoes and have joined a walking club at work. Hopefully, by summer's end, the only pills I'll be taking in the morning will be a multi-vitamin and a Vitamin C tab.

Of course, this is all "best case scenario." Once upon a time, I loved my job. Sometimes I'd have to be reminded of that, but for the most part, I really did love my job.

I hate my job.

I've worked alone since April 8 of last year. The stress of staffing two offices with three people, and trying to keep up the workload by myself in my own office, along with all of the administrative functions I need to perform has been too much. The Director of our group, in his infinite wisdom, recommended to our VP that we not re-hire for the vacant position as, he says, the work can be done by one person.

This is a department of 3 (used to be 4) providing typing, grade, exam, technical support to an entire community college with more than 600 faculty members. Add in the administrative departments who send work to us, and you've got a lot of typing jobs. The Director needed/wanted a new position in his office. Guess where my funding for that 4th position went?

I wake up every morning with my first thought being "I'll call in sick today." Each day lasts an eternity and all I can think about is 4:00 rolling around so I can get the hell out of here. I'm completely apathetic about the work that comes in, and have let my administrative tasks get behind. I just don't care. And there's no pill I can take for that.

So, I start counting the days until retirement.....




3 comments:

Free said...

I can relate. I'm 44 & I'm just waiting for my hormones to collide with my naturally cranky Cancer personality. What a hell-raiser I plan to be...LOL

Like the set-up of your blog. I'll be back.

Peace

LC Scotty said...

Hi Pat. Sorry to hear about the sucky job situation. Kinda makes you long for the exciting "mouse turd" era, dunnnit?
On a lighter note, the Buffalo bloggers are getting together on Friday the 14th for a Bison's (baseball) game. If you and Lisa are interested, drop me a line.

Pat said...

At least the mice/bees/floods made things more interesting at work...

Would love to go to the game, but it's Easter weekend, and we'll be heading for PA to spend Easter with Lisa's family. Thanks for the invite, though, and keep us in mind for future get-togethers!